Ditch the Pitch
COLUMBIA, S.C. – You may be looking to save some money on back-to-school and other household needs by shopping during tax-free weekend August 2-4, 2019. The South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs (SCDCA) is encouraging consumers to navigate this shopping weekend with a thoughtful plan involving the following tips:
• Make a list and stick to it. Review the Department of Revenue’s (SCDOR) website for a list of items that are tax exempt as well as ones that are not. A list will help save time and avoid impulse buying and overspending.
• Decide your payment method. When shopping in a store, pay with cash if you have trouble sticking to a budget. If you prefer shopping online, a credit card offers more consumer fraud protections than a debit card.
• Think twice about store credit accounts. Store credit sounds like an opportunity for an additional discount, but if you’re not a regular customer of the store, chances are it’s a line of credit that you don’t need. Interest rates on these cards are usually higher than a general credit card and too many credit inquiries within a small amount of time can potentially lower your credit score.
• Know the return policy. Review return and exchange policies online so you know before you go. Don’t see it in store? Ask, especially if you are purchasing items that often have a restocking fee, like computers.
• Review financial statements. Security breaches often happen during heavily trafficked shopping times. Read your financial statements during the tax-free weekend and beyond, ensuring there are no errors or fraudulent charges. If there are, dispute them immediately.
Consumers with questions about the tax-free weekend should visit the SCDOR website dedicated to the sales tax holiday. For more consumer tips, or to get assistance if you find suspicious charges or errors on your accounts, visit www.consumer.sc.gov or call SCDCA toll-free in SC at 1 (800) 922-1594.
The South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs aims to protect consumers from inequities in the marketplace through advocacy, complaint mediation, enforcement and education. To file a complaint or get information on consumer issues, visit www.consumer.sc.gov or call toll-free, 1 (800) 922-1594.